“O movement [Hamas] gave his answer to the Qatari brothers and the mediators. We are getting closer to concluding a truce agreement.”said Haniyeh, quoted in a brief message published on the Palestinian movement’s account on the Telegram platform.
According to sources from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the second largest Palestinian armed Islamist group, cited by France-Presse (AFP), the two movements have accepted an agreement and the details are expected to be announced by Qatar and the conflict mediators.
For now, the Israeli Government has not yet reacted to these statements.
The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mirjana Spoljaric, met on Monday night with the leaders of Qatar and with Haniyeh, who is based in this Gulf emirate, to “advance the humanitarian issues linked to the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza”.
Qatar, Egypt and the United States are working on an agreement to try to free the approximately 240 hostages kidnapped in Israel by Hamas in exchange for a truce in the Gaza Strip.
Although the ICRC said it was not taking part in the talks, it insisted that the committee’s teams “be allowed to visit the hostages to check their well-being, administer medicine and to ensure that the hostages can communicate with their families”, according to a statement.
“We have never been this close, we are confident. But there is still work to do. Nothing is done until everything is done”said White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
Asked by a journalist in Washington whether an agreement for the release of hostages is imminent, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, replied: “I think so.”
Two sources close to the talks told AFP today that they are focusing on a deal for the release of “50 to 100” hostages in exchange for the release of 300 Palestinian prisoners in Israel, including children and women.
The transfer would be carried out in stages, in a daily exchange of ten Israeli hostages for 30 Palestinian prisoners, and would include the entry of food, medical aid and fuel and, above all, a “five-day renewable humanitarian truce”.
The war between Israeli forces and Hamas, which continues to threaten to spread throughout the Middle East region, broke out on October 7, with a surprise attack by the Islamist movement on Israel.
This attack, which included the launch of rockets and the infiltration of around 3,000 fighters into Israeli territory, caused around 1,200 deaths, mainly civilians, and five thousand injuries, according to a report by the Israel Defense Forces.
In retaliation, Israel is incessantly bombing the Gaza Strip and has been carrying out, since October 27, a ground operation to “crush” the Islamist movement.
These Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have killed more than 13,300 people, of which more than 5,600 are children, according to Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip since 2007 and classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel.
In addition to this, there are tens of thousands of injured people and, according to the UN, 1.7 million displaced people — more than two thirds of the total population of that poor Palestinian enclave, which is facing a serious humanitarian crisis due to water scarcity. , food, electricity, medicine and fuel.
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